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Cognitive Development August 8, 2005 Cognitive Development Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/ Take Home Messages: Cognitive development explodes during adolescence Situational, not consistent across all areas Influences both social and inner worlds Myths

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Cognitive Development

August 8, 2005


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Cognitive Development

  • Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/

  • Take Home Messages:

    • Cognitive development explodes during adolescence

    • Situational, not consistent across all areas

    • Influences both social and inner worlds


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Myths

  • Cognitive development is consistent and even

  • Teens are able to use their newfound intelligence to make the right decisions consistently

  • Adolescents avoid thinking about their own thinking


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Brain Reorganization

  • Head and brain size increase during physical development

  • Neural development – electrical pathways in the brain increase, networks increase in size and number, linkages overlap/intersect

  • Frontal lobe/cerebral cortex – higher order thinking (abstract)

  • Nutrition important – need sleep, vitamins, no drugs/alcohol, etc.


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Brain Hemispheres

  • Lateralization – two sides of the brain differentiate

  • Generally, boys have brains that are more lateralized (testosterone?)

  • Right-handed – language located in the left hemisphere

  • Left-handed males – less lateralized for language


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Information Processing

  • “Mind as a computer”

  • Two assumptions

    • Knowledge as a process, sequential

    • Limited capacity (memory)


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Information Processing

  • Input – anything in the environment

  • Sensory memory – information received through senses (sight, hearing, etc.)

  • Short-term – “7 bits” +/- of information

    • Chunking – SS#, phone numbers

  • Long-term – stored, can be retrieved later


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Processes

  • Strategies used

    • Rehearsal – repetition

    • Association – “tree”

    • Mnemonics – using images, letters

  • Serial positioning

    • Primacy – first on a list

    • Recency – last learned, first out


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Changes in Thinking

  • Volume (quantity) and type (quality)

  • Faster – have greater knowledge base

  • Abstraction – hypothetical, other perspectives/points of view

  • Possibilities – more systematic, consider alternatives, several ways to address problems


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Changes in Thinking

  • Multiple dimensions – understand sarcasm (and start using it a lot!), multiple interpretations, see multiple aspects

  • Metacognition/Meta-thinking – thinking about thinking, affects social life…think about what others think about us


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Changes in Thinking

  • Relativism – fewer absolutes, see shades of gray, may go overboard and question everything (rampant relativism)

  • Cognitive self-regulation – not just behavioral, includes memory strategies (mnemonics), rehearsal


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Temporary Problems

  • Premature judgment – more likely, cognitive shortcuts

  • Fragmented knowledge – understand pieces, but not the whole, trouble pulling info from other areas and applying it

  • Rampant relativism – question everything, even basics

  • Pseudostupidity – miss obvious answer


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Gender Differences

  • Socialized vs. biologically determined

    • Verbal/math ability

    • Achievement, intelligence tests

    • Gaps closing in many areas

  • Spatial ability – differences appear by age 10, stabilize

    • Higher androgen levels, higher spatial

    • Girls mature earlier, spatial dev curtailed?

    • Social – differential rewards


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